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Full text of "Byzantine Churches In Constantinople"

ii         THE CHURCH OF S. JOHN OF THE STUDION       4.5
make their way to the altar. The building seemed full of wild animals, glaring with eyes on fire at their victims,.and 'making the air resound with the most terrible cries. Michael was on his knees clasping the holy table ; Constantine stood on the right ; both were dressed like monks, and their features were so transformed by terror as to be almost beyond recognition. The spectacle of greatness thus brought low was so pathetic that Psellus burst into tears and sobbed aloud. But the crowd only grew more fierce, and drew nearer and nearer to the fugitives as though to rend them in pieces. Only a superstitious dread restrained it from laying hands upon them in a shrine so sacred and venerated. The uproar lasted for hours, the mob content meanwhile with striking terror and making flight impossible, At length, late in the afternoon, the prefect of the city appeared upon the scene, accompanied by soldiers and followed by large crowds of citizens. He came with instructions to bring Michael and Constantine out of the church. In vain did he try the effect of mild words and promises ot a gentle fate. The fallen emperor and his uncle clung to the altar more desperately. The prefect then gave orders that the two wretched men should be dragged forth by main force. They gripped the altar yet more tightly, and in piteous tones invoked the aid of all the eikons in the building. The scene became so heartrending that most of the spectators interfered on behalf of the victims of misfortune, and only by giving solemn assurance that they would not be put to death was the prefect allowed to proceed to their arrest. Michael and Constantine were then dragged by the feet as far as the Sigma, above S. Mary Peribleptos (Soulou Monastir), and after having their eyes burnt out were banished to different monasteries, to muse on the vanity of human greatness and repent of their misdeeds.1
The Studion appears in the final rupture of the Eastern and Western Churches.2    The  immediate occasion was a
1  Glycas, p. 592 ;   Cedrenus,  ii.   t>.  539 ;   Psellus,  pp.  87-93 ;   Byzantine Texts,  edited by Prof, Bury ; cf. Schlumberger, Epopee byxantine & la. Jin  du dixieme sitcle^ p. 372,
2  See Cedrenus, ii. p, 555 ; Will, Commemoratio brewis, p. 150 ; Schlumberger, op. tit, chapitre viii.